PARIS — Georges Mikautadze's first-half double gave Metz a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Lens on Friday and secured three vital points for the home club in its bid to avoid relegation from France's top tier.

It was Metz’s first win after three consecutive defeats. Although it remains second-to-last, Metz is now level on 26 points with Lorient, the team immediately above it.

Nantes and Le Havre have 28 points, and Clermont is last with 21. The bottom two teams go down and the team in 16th place enters a relegation playoff.

Florian Sotoca put Lens ahead from the penalty spot after 13 minutes following a trip on Wesley Said but Mikautadze equalized 11 minutes before halftime when he created space for himself in a packed penalty box and fired an unstoppable shot high into the net.

On the stroke of halftime the Georgian took advantage of sloppy defending — and quick thinking by teammate Kévin N’Doram — to put Metz ahead. The Lens defense was caught in possession as it tried to play the ball out and N’Doram stabbed the ball forward to Mikautadze, who coolly lifted the ball over the advancing 'keeper to make it 2-1.

The result was a blow to Lens, which would have gone fifth above Nice with a win. It remains in sixth place, a point behind Nice and three ahead of Reims.

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